Fresh out of hibernation, bears are hungry for high calorie foods. As they search for food during longer daylight hours and warming temperatures, residents are reminded to take the time and look at their property for items that can attract bears.
“While it is legal to feed the birds, you may be creating an irreversible safety issue by providing food for bears,” said Ashely Autenrieth, acting bear specialist with the DNR. “Bears that receive a food reward when around homes, yards and neighborhoods typically lose their natural fear of humans and can become a potential threat to people and their pets.”
The first step to a safe spring, summer and fall is removing potential food sources like bird feeders. Bird feeders can draw bears beyond their natural habitat, where they normally would be enjoying the roots of early spring plants and insects in trees and logs.
Additional tips to stay safe and avoid future problems with bears is keeping pet foods in a secure area, securing garbage in a sealed container as well as using a disinfectant after removing trash to minimize odors that attract bears, cleaning bbq grills and picnic tables.
Finally, Autenrieth advices residents to use electric fencing to protect beehives, fruit trees and gardens.
“For your safety, never intentionally feed or try to tame bears – it is in your, and the bear’s, best interest,” Autenrieth said. “It is critical that bears retain their natural fear of humans.”